Sunday, March 29, 2020

Lighting Up the Countryside: The Tennessee Electric Power Company

By Dr. Kevin Cason

In 1922, the Tennessee Electric Power Company formed as a result of a merger with several regional power companies. By using hydroelectric power on the different river systems in Tennessee, the Tennessee Electric Power Company helped many rural Tennesseans begin to have electricity for the first time. As a result, a wide variety of products were developed to save people time from their housework and chores. To encourage people in rural areas to want to have electricity in their homes, the Tennessee Electric Power Company held demonstrations and offered promotional booklets that illustrated the benefits of having electricity. Over time, these promotional tactics worked, and gradually the dark Tennessee countryside was lit up by electrical lights.

At the Tennessee State Library and Archives, one of the collections that documents the electrification of rural Tennessee is the Arthur W. Crouch Tennessee Electric Power Company Collection. Most of the material in the collection covers the period from 1922 to 1939. After August 15, 1939, all of the Tennessee Electric Power Company’s properties transferred to the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Tennessee Electric Power Company was progressive, spending large sums of money promoting rural electrification and the use of electric appliances. It laid the firm foundation on which the Tennessee Valley Authority was built.

One of the notable items that reflects the history of the company is a booklet entitled "The Tennessee Electric Power Company" from 1925. It features descriptions and historic photographs of hydroelectric plants in Hales Bar on the Tennessee River, Parksville on the Ocoee River, and Great Falls on the Caney Fork River. The booklet also has information on the transmission lines to various cities and towns in Tennessee. In addition, the booklet has a map that illustrates the transmission system of the Tennessee Electric Power Company during the 1920s.

Hydroelectric Power Plant at Hales Bar at the Tennessee River.
Arthur W. Crouch Tennessee Electric Power Company Collection, Box 2, Folder 1.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Parksville on Ocoee Hydroelectric Dam.
Arthur W. Crouch Tennessee Electric Power Company Collection, Box 2, Folder 1.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Dam and Hydroelectric Dam at Caney Fork River.
Arthur W. Crouch Tennessee Electric Power Company Collection, Box 2, Folder 1.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Another item in the collection, a promotional booklet entitled "Electric Service for Your Farm," was created in 1925. This booklet promoted the benefits of having electricity, including lighting the landscape at night and electrifying the farm home inside. The booklet also features promotions for refrigeration, cooking, heating water, and other types of electrical appliances.

In closing, the items in the Arthur W. Crouch Tennessee Electric Power Company collection serve as material culture evidence of the dramatic transformation that electricity brought to the lives of rural Tennesseans. While electricity and electrical appliances are often taken for granted today, the technology was something new and different for rural people in the 1920s. By having historical resources like these items, it serves as a reminder that even ordinary things like electricity have a history.

For More on the Tennessee Electric Power Company see:





The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Library and Archives is closed to the public through April 13...

TENNESSEE STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES PUBLIC CLOSURE UPDATE




Following the direction of the Secretary of State, the Tennessee State Library and Archives will be closed to the public through at least April 13th.

To safeguard the health of our patrons and staff during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Library and Archives is closed to the public and has suspended all public programming until further notice. Please postpone any planned research visits until we reopen.

During this public closure, we plan to serve our patrons remotely through a variety of ways. For researchers, our website offers many indexes and digital collections that you can access remotely. The Tennessee Electronic Library provides researchers with access to a wide array of databases and information. The Tennessee Virtual Archive has a vast storehouse of visual material for your research needs. Our Education Outreach web page has resources for educators and students including primary sources linked to social studies curriculum standards and a Student History of Tennessee. Our Public Services staff will continue to answer emails, chats, and telephone calls. You may contact our reference desk Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT, at 615-741-2764, email reference.tsla@tn.gov, or visit https://sos.tn.gov/tsla to live chat.

We regret any inconvenience that this may cause, but we are taking this proactive approach in the best interest of maintaining the public health and safety of our community.

Please check our website, https://sos.tn.gov/tsla, or social media for updates as this situation develops.

Chuck Sherrill
State Librarian and Archivist
Posted: March 16, 2020
Revised: March 26, 2020

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Tennessee State Library and Archives Provides Vital Records for REAL ID



The Library and Archives is providing documents that the public may need to obtain a REAL ID. Marriage, divorce and death records prior to 1970 records and birth records prior to 1920 from the Library and Archives could be essential to prove name changes over the years. To learn more click here: sos.tn.gov/news/tennessee-state-library-and-archives-provides-vital-records-real-id.

Anyone in need of birth records from 1920 to present, or marriage, divorce and death records from 1970 to present, should contact the Tennessee Office of Vital Records at tn.gov/health/.


The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett